Obesity is one of the major epidemics in 21st century’s first world. The percentages of obesity have increased over the past few decades at an alarming rate, and even if there are some cultural and economical changes aimed at finghting and finally defeating this epidemic, it doesn’t seem to be going to happen soon. Obesity leads to a large number of health problems, some of which can threaten your life.
Among the most common health complications of obesity, there is an increased risk of coronary disease and type II diabetes. Also, the excess of weight the body carries puts extra stress on our joints and bones, damaging our tissues and causing pain and injury. However, among the large number of health issues linked to obesity, it is our intent to spotlight in this article its strong correlation to another one of our main epidemics that seems to affect up to one third of the population. This mental condition is depression, and is one of the major concerns of psychiatrists and psychologists all around the world.
Obesity is in many cases a consequence of bad habits, including lack of exercise and eating an excessive amount of calories; these are two of the main characteristics of today’s modern life in many cities and towns, so it isn’t surprising that more and more people are becoming obese. However, there are other medical reasons for weight gain, like a disregulation of grelin, the hormone of apetite, and some mental illnesses such as depression.
Depression as a mental condition is an unhealthy state of mind characterized by negativity, self-loathing, lack of hope and will, and negative changes in habits such as lack of quality sleep and changes in eating patterns. Studies show that it has a strong correlation with anxiety, a group of mental disorders centered around excessive fear and/or worries that undermine a person’s quality of life. Depression increases the probabilities for suicide, self-harm and loneliness, and can have strong effects on a person’s work, studies and social life.
There are measures of depression that allow psychiatrists and psychologist to better understand and treat depression among their patients. These measures are also used to study depression and link it to risk factors and other relevant conditions; as a result of these research projects, now we can better understand the link between obesity and depression.
Even if depression and obesity seem to be very different health problems, they do have very important things in common that can help explain why they seem to be so highly correlated. Altough depression is mostly a mood alteration while obesity is a body mass problem, the origin of both is in our brain. Our brain regulates how much we eat as well as how we feel and what we think. So it does make sense to hypothesize that a brain alteration could be behind both problems, but the link between depression and obesity goes beyond a pure neurobiological approach.
Depression often causes alterations in our eating patterns. People with depression often do less exercise because they lack the will and the energy to do so, and as we know, a sedentary life increases our chances of obesity. Moreover, many people with depression tend to overeat, and this too will add up to our body weight.
The relation between depression and obesity is two-way. Not only can depression increase our likeability of becoming obese, but being obese is also very depressing. In a culture where being slim is highly valorated, especially in women, being obese can be very discouraging. Obesity works as a magnet for bullying, criticism and self-loathing, so people are sometimes trapped in a vicious cycle where they gain weight because they are depressed and they are depressed because they gain weight.
Fortunately, both depression and obesity have good recovery rates when the person gets proper help from a medical team. If you want to get help for depression, laboratories have developed a wide range of prescription drugs that can stabilize the neurochemicals in your brain to help you feel better. Also, psychotherapy helps change the worldview that feeds the depressive state of mind. Other activities like physical exercise and some alternative medicine approaches also show effectivity.
Also, if you need get help with losing weight, there are plenty of weight loss programs available for you. You can go to a nutritionist and get a diet that meets your daily requirements and your lifestyle, and you can complement your dietary approach with an exercise routine that will make you healthier and more fit. There are support programs that help you get through the process and emerge victorious at the other end.
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Depression Anonymous, 118 High Street, Newcastle, Staffs, ST5 1RN.
+44 1632 960017,